DirectorBlogSeries

Director Blog Series: PALS Maine in Memory of Myrna

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Maddie: Hellooo PALS Fam! My name is Maddie Watson, and I am the Personnel Director for Camp PALS Maine 2018! This will be my 6th summer with PALS, but my first year as a Director and I couldn’t be more excited for this amazing week. Here’s a little bit about me: I currently work as a behavior specialist at a Kennedy Krieger school in Baltimore, MD working with a wide range of kiddos. When I’m not planning this spectacular week or at work, I love to spend time with my dog (aka my soulmate), eat tacos, and explore new places. I am really looking forward to all of the water activities that we have planned, and of course eating some lobster. I can’t wait to see all of your beautiful shining faces in Maine! 

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Kevin: Calling all Maine-iacs! This is going to be my 6th summer with PALS and I couldn’t be more excited to head back to Portland! I work as a finance analyst at a government contractor in Washington DC so, needless to say, I am really looking forward to spending our week in Maine outdoors and on the water. I also have a sister with Down syndrome who will be attending Camp with us this summer (Hi Megan!). I know I speak for the whole Maine team when I say we can’t wait to get this summer started!

Director Blog Series: Camp PALS Georgetown

Hey PALS family! 

My name is Kelsey Siegel, and I’ll be the Logistics Director for Camp PALS Georgetown 2018. I’ve been with PALS since 2008, when we only had ONE camp, so it is incredibly exciting to have the opportunity to direct one of FOURTEEN camps this summer! I’ve loved being able to watch PALS grow, and I’ve gained so much from my time with everybody I’ve met at PALS. Outside of directing, I am the founder of a small non-profit horse rescue in Poolesville, MD that places a focus on retraining rescue horses for riding and competition. I also dabble on the guitar, and am proficient in dancing in front of the mirror (both skills that just might be displayed at Camp). I can’t wait for July to get here- we are going to have an absolute BLAST! Gear up for the best week of the summer!

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Hi, PALS fam!

I’m David Rawlins and I am the Personnel Director for Georgetown! This will be my 4th year with PALS. Though this will be my 2nd year serving as a Director, it will be my 1st as a Georgetown Director, which I’m ecstatic about having grown up just outside of D.C. in northern Virginia. I was introduced to PALS through a Camper that I worked with in a student organization in college. I’ve continued my involvement with PALS in hopes to give people the same experience that that has changed my view on inclusion and how the Down syndrome community is viewed in the scope of the world. This year, I’m thrilled to be working with Kelsey, who brings so much charisma and energy to our team. I’m looking forward to catching up with returning Campers and Counselors, as well as meeting all new faces and welcoming them to PALS. This summer’s Camp is going to be a blast!

Director Blog Series: Camp PALS Poconos

Welcome to Camp PALS Poconos 2018!

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Maggie: Hellooo PALS Family! My name is Maggie Lesmes, and I’m the Personnel Director for Camp PALS Poconos 2018. This will be my fifth summer with PALS and my fourth summer at Poconos, and I can’t wait to be back with my favorite people for another week in the Electric City! When I’m not communicating with all of our amazing Camper families and Volunteers, I’m studying Global Public Health at the University of Virginia (Go Hoos!). In my free time, I enjoy playing with my puppy, baking cakes, watching The Bachelor, and exercising. Chris and I have been working hard to plan the perfect week, and we’re so excited to experience all the PALS magic with you in July!

Chris: What’s up, guys! My name is Chris Rahill, and I’m the Logistics Director for Poconos this summer. I’m 23 years old, and I currently live in Chalfont, Pennsylvania with my family. I’ve been volunteering with PALS for six years, and this will be my fourth summer at Poconos. I enjoy playing sports, going to the beach, and listening to classic rock music. A fun fact about me is that I’ve been to 49 out of the 50 U.S. states! Maggie and I can’t wait for another great summer in Scranton!

We’re counting down the days until Camp PALS Poconos 2018!

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Director Blog Series: Camp PALS Cleveland

Erin: Hey everyone! I am Erin and this is my 2nd year directing in the wonderful city of Cleveland or should I say Believeland! I am so excited to see all returning Campers and Counselors as well as meet new potential friends. One of my favorite memories from Camp PALS Cleveland 2017 was dancing and singing on the party buses. I also loved playing trivia and our talent show! I am so excited that Cleveland is expanding this summer and moving from a 20 Camper Camp to a 40 Camper Camp. This year I am looking forward to cruising on the Nautica Queen once again and chanting my way through the best week of the summer! CLE CLE CLE!!

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Ricky: Hows it going?! I am Ricky Price and this will be my 10th year with PALS Programs, and my 4th year Directing a Camp PALS Program. I have been in Columbus, Ohio the past 3 years and now I will be joining Erin in ‘Believeland’ as she calls it, and I cannot be more excited! This year we will be expanding to 40 Campers and Counselors and I am so ecstatic to be bringing a bigger impact to the Down Syndrome Community in Ohio. I look forward to welcoming you all to Camp, for the first time, or welcoming you back…I will be the really obnoxious one screaming my head off out of excitement on Camper Arrival day! See you all soon!

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Director Blog Series: Camp PALS Richmond

PALS Richmond is a week-long sleep-away camp taking place at the campus of VCU this July! We’ve got some HUGE things planned, including a trip to a theme park, a rafting adventure, and a big league experience! Do you like trying new things, meeting new people, and having the time of your life? Yeah, we thought so. Sign up now, thank us later.

Who is “us,” you may be asking. Well I’m glad you did:

Logistics Director 

Name: Kelly Kitchen

Most looking forward to: Fourth of July at PALS Richmond!!

Years involved with PALS: 4

Reason for involvement in PALS: The people I meet and the energy they bring to Camp!

Favorite type of jelly: Strawberry

Favorite sound: alarm clock

Secret Talent: Able to sleep on airplanes

Life’s ambition: To figure out how the vending machines know the difference between quarters and pennies

Favorite smell: Lilac, cedar

Reflection on Kelly: “Kelly’s energy is infectious. She approaches seemingly ordinary tasks with unmatched creativity. Her audacious aim for the moon will surely always land her among the stars, and her ability to listen, adjust, and create will ensure PALS Richmond is the highlight of your summer. I hope you are lucky enough to interact, spend time, and learn from her this summer.”


Personnel Director 

Name: Jake Myers

Most looking forward to: Rafting!!!!

Years involved with PALS: 6

Reason for involvement in PALS: The growth I have seen with those involved

Favorite type of jelly: Red Raspberry (with seeds)

Secret Talent: Actually pretty good at spelling

Life’s ambition: To find my keys

Favorite smell: Toast

Favorite sound: …Toast

Reflection: This is my third year as a Director. I see a lot of value in learning from year to year, and am excited to be a part of a totally new PALS summer experience! I enjoy being outside, spending time at the beach, not mornings, and anything associated with PALS. I love the relationship side of Camp, and look forward to meeting all of the Counselors, Campers, and families involved. I no longer have a myspace, but can be reached via email if you have any questions: Richmond@palsprograms.org

Director Blog Series: Camp PALS Boston

Audrey: Hello Everyone! My name is Audrey DeFusco, and I am so excited to be co-directing Camp PALS Boston! This will be my fourth year with PALS and my first year as a Director. I couldn’t have asked for a better teammate than the one and only Dom Dipersia to spearhead PALS Beantown with. Did you know that he went to the same college as my sister?? What a coincidence! I am from Connecticut, but I currently live in Boston and work for Massachusetts General Hospital. I will be heading off to medical school in August and am really happy that I can go to Camp before school starts. I am looking forward to sailing at Camp; I belong to a rowing club on The Charles River and cannot wait to share Boston’s water sport scene with all of you. Also, I’m super excited to celebrate The Fourth of July with PALS. Get ready for everything to be RED, WHITE, and BLUE! I am counting down the days until the best week of the summer. Camp PALS Boston is going to be wicked awesome!

PALS Love,

Audrey

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Dom: What’s good? My name is Dominic Dipersia and this is my 6th Summer at Camp PALS (where has the time gone?) I’m from Worcester, MA which makes the fact that I’m helping to lead the first ever Boston-based Camp PALS a huge honor! I work at Bancroft School in Worcester, working as the Substitute Teaching and Communications Coordinator for the school. I also coach three sports - Soccer, Basketball and Tennis. I’m a huge sports fan and love my Red Sox, Bruins and Patriots (Tom Brady is still the GOAT). I honestly can’t wait to show our Campers and Counselors some of my favorite parts of Boston, including the New England Aquarium and Quincy Market. Also, how lucky is PALS Boston to be holding Camp the week of the 4th of July?! It’s going to be a wicked awesome week, and I am so excited for the ‘summah’ to be here! 

So much PALS Love,

Dom

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Director Blog Series: Camp PALS Chicago

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Kayla:

My name is Kayla and I am so excited to be returning this summer as one of the Directors of Camp PALS Chicago. I cannot wait to take on the windy city with so many wonderful returners as well as welcome so many new faces and show them the best that Chicago has to offer. This is my 4th summer with PALS Chicago and I have also attended Camps in San Francisco and Columbus, and recently traveled to the Hersheypark Adventure. My favorite memory from Camp last summer was looking down from the top of the ferris wheel on Navy Pier and seeing PALS enjoying everything this iconic location had to offer. I am currently a first year elementary special education teacher in Nashville and cannot wait to come home to Chicago to share the week with my favorite PALS!

Riannon:

Welcome to Chicago! I’m Riannon, and it’s a pleasure to be directing Chicago for the second time around! I am beyond excited to explore the windy city building new relationships and fostering returning friendships. This is also my 4th summer with PALS (fun fact: Kayla and I met our first year together) and have enjoyed both leading the Wisconsin Dells Adventure and attending the Monterey Bay Adventure. Last year, the best experience I had was exploring the Shedd Aquarium and finding different exhibits that each individual was excited to see. I am a first year middle school special education teacher in the suburbs of Chicago and planning my wedding for March of 2019. Chicago will be a blast and I can’t wait to create new experiences together!

We are so excited to meet you this summer during our favorite week of the year at Camp PALS Chicago. We hope you’re as excited as we are! As we sail into this summer, we know it is going to be a Grand Slam and we cannot wait to see you there!

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Director Blog Series: PALS New Jersey in Memory of David Frieri

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Ashley: Hi everyone! My name is Ashley Lawhorn and I am so excited to be the Logistics Director at Camp PALS New Jersey this year! This will be my 5th summer at Camp PALS. Previously, I have attended Camp Pals Chicago, Camp Pals San Fransisco, and was a Counselor and a Head Counselor at Camp PALS New Jersey. I attended The University of Kentucky (Go Cats!) and graduated with a degree in Special Education. I am currently a fourth grade special education teacher, and loving every second of it. I cannot wait for the Camp PALS New Jersey staples this year such as; Ocean City beach trip, Six Flags Great Adventure, and especially Casino night. Tim and I are so excited to see everyone, and we are counting down the days until we arrive at The College of New Jersey!

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TimHey everyone! My name is Tim Silverthorn and I am the Personnel Director for Camp PALS New Jersey 2018! This is my 5th year with PALS, but it will be my first time as a Director and I am SUPER excited for this summer. I have been a Counselor at Camp PALS Philly, Camp PALS Poconos, and I was an Ambassador last year. I am currently a student at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania studying Marketing and Economics. When I am not planning for this awesome summer, I am usually at the Rec at my school playing basketball, racquetball or going for a nice long run. I am counting down the days for Camper Arrival because that is hands down the best day of the year! I can’t wait to see everyone and make this the best summer yet!

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Director Blog Series: PALS New York Inspired by Hope & Family

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Helloooo PALS Families! We are Dan and Morgan, the 2018 Camp PALS New York Directors!

Some facts about the both of us:

  • You might remember us from Camp PALS NY last year - we directed together!
  • Pennsylvania is where we call home, and about an hour away from each other.
  • We both LOVE to make each PALS programming event special and unique, think over the top 80’s Aerobics. (see picture below for a better idea)  
  • Neither one of us have read or seen any of the Harry Potter series.
  • One of our favorite things to do as an entire Camp is have “family dinners”. We started this last year and are super excited to bring this method into play again this summer.
  • If we were to sing a duet together for karaoke, we’d be singing I Wanna Dance with Somebody by Whitney Houston.
  • This will be our our sixth summer as part of the PALS family. We started at Philadelphia, but we didn’t know one another. Dan was on the Green Boys team and Morgan was on Blue Girls. This was when there were only two Camps; CP West and CP Philly.

Get to know Dan better:

  • Graduated in December with a degree in Marketing from Temple University.
  • Loves food, but has never eaten a PB&J sandwich.
  • In the summers (sometimes even the winter) you can find him lying on the beach at his favorite shore, North Wildwood.
  • The logistics and programming god.

A little more on Morgan:

  • Graduates in May with a master’s degree in Community Nutrition from West Chester University.
  • Studied food for six years, but ice cream is still a favorite.
  • The coolest thing Morgan has done was go on a real life African Safari while in Kenya.
  • Will know everyone’s name attending CPNY by the time she steps foot on Cornell’s campus.

Welcome to New York, We’ve Been Waiting for YOU!

Always PALS Love,

Dan and Morgan

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(see, we go all out. get your workout/outfits ready for the summer!)